ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Cyber crime has become such a problem, that college criminal justice programs are now basing entire fields of study on fighting computer criminals.
Albany Technical College is the first tech school program in Georgia to launch a cyber crime investigation degree, teaching people to bring computer criminals to justice.
Charlie Roberts of the Albany Police Department has investigated murders and just about every crime in his 20-year law enforcement career. But now he is preparing to investigate cyber crimes.
"You have to have the knowledge of what they are doing and how to be able to detect when a crime has been committed utilizing computers," said Roberts.
Roberts is studying Cyber Crime Investigation at Albany Tech. The school's criminal justice advisory board, made up of law enforcement heads, says high tech cops are needed.
"Every two to five seconds somebody's identity is stolen," said Albany Tech Criminal Justice Technology Department Chair Kenn Singleton, himself a former police officer. "Criminal procedures, they learn about collecting evidence. One of the main things is they become expert in courtroom testimony."
The program is not only for cops. The school's computer security program is made up of many different types of students.
Taylor Patrick recently earned his G.E.D. and is now studying to protect computer networks from crooks. "That's what makes it fun. The fact that it's not the same thing every day. It's different," said Patrick.
Vic Patel moved to America from India five years ago, and also likes the challenge of protecting people. "Cyber threats and hackers try to get into your system and try to get your personal information so I want to stop that," said Patel.
Centraya Kenny is former military, now finishing her cybersecurity degree at Albany Tech, headed to Jacksonville University to further her studies.
Albany Tech computer faculty say Kenny and others in the program are in high demand.
"Look on any website that advertises jobs. Under cybersecurity, you will see a whole list of jobs available," said Dan Johnson, Albany Tech Computer Information Systems Technology.
Charlie Roberts will bring this expertise to the Albany Police to fight real crime.
"Help get the tools to put on your tool belt," said Roberts. "So that you can operate, you can investigate."
Because cyber crime is growing, and law enforcement agencies and most businesses are looking for trained people to protect against them.